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Reasons of CRM Failures and How to Avoid Them

CRM software helps businesses to grow, but the CRM implementation failure is closer to 90%. Let's analyze their reasons and how to avoid them!

Ivan Karp
Written by
Ivan Karp
Ivan Karp
Ivan Karp

Managing Director at SyncMatters, Europe

More from Ivan Karp

Published: Apr 05, 2024

| 19 mins read

The Top 7 Reasons Why CRM Systems Fail

1. Unclear Goals

Because CRM software can help many various departments in your company, you might be tempted to create a system that works for everyone.

Take a look at our Top CRM systems:


HubSpot is a comprehensive solution for marketing, sales, and service that comes in a free version with available upgrades.  Create automated standard dashboards in your account to analyze your marketing channels.


Salesforce is a powerful sales force automation and CRM tool that offers a wide range of solutions for different business areas, including Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, Sales Cloud, Salesforce Platform, and Analytics Cloud. 

freshsales findmycrm

Freshsales is a leading company that offers a range of products such as Freshworks, Freshmarketer, and Freshdesk. Their products are known for their quality and functionality, and they incorporate cutting-edge analytics technology. 


Pipedrive is a purpose-built CRM system that helps businesses to optimize their sales process and increase revenue. The platform allows users to create custom sales pipelines that provide visibility into how prospects move through the sales cycle.


It's wonderful to have ambitious goals for your system, but losing focus could lead to disaster if your CRM project is just getting started. 

Without clear, achievable objectives, it is difficult to evaluate the performance of your CRM. “What issue are we trying to solve with this software?” This should be the first you ask yourself. Then define your long-term and short-term goals. As your company grows and your team's CRM usage changes, frequently review these goals and make any necessary improvements.

2. Lack of Proper Management Supervision

Lack of support, motivation and training at the executive leadership level is another factor causing the high failure rate of CRM implementation. To get the most out of CRM, a strong commitment from higher is required, as well as support for cross-departmental collaboration. 

The total success of your CRM implementation solution depends on the performance of your sales, marketing, and customer service teams. These departments must cooperate to help each other in achieving long-term corporate goals, not just short-term departmental objectives. 

Executives sometimes struggle to implement appropriate SMART goals and objectives when they have to do with CRM management. Offer management various options with the advantages and disadvantages of each option clearly outlined, for instance, when selecting a suitable software vendor. This provides a feedback loop and reporting strategy and also helps keep management informed.

CRM Failures

3. The Wrong Vendor 

Your business's success depends on your choice of the best CRM provider. Do the necessary research to make sure that the CRM vendor you choose can properly serve the needs of your team and your industry. You shouldn't only pick a CRM provider based on whether their software is the most well-liked or the least expensive. Price and popularity are nothing if this vendor does not meet your needs.

Make sure you know exactly what you need before starting this research. Before making any final decisions, you should try to do a demo and learn what features and other options each of your CRM alternatives offer. If a CRM provider is trying to persuade you to change your business processes or procedures to adapt to a new CRM, this may show that they are not a good fit for you.

[Related Article: How to do CRM demo]

4. Investment Without Planning

The reasons why a CRM fails often have less to do with the system`s capabilities and more with how the company views itself. CRM failure may happen when a business invests in software that streamlines emails and text messages, but its customers prefer to interact with them on the phone or in person. 

In order to avoid CRM failures, a business should analyze its marketing and sales environment scenario before investing in CRM software. By carefully researching and evaluating how to connect a CRM system with its customers, workflows, and particular requirements, a company may create a productive platform.

[Related Article: Salesforce Alternatives]

5. Dismissed IT Implications

It is important to take into account the IT infrastructure and investments. Purchasing a SaaS solution is a very difficult process. According to Gartner, the buying committee typically consists of six to 10 stakeholders. The IT team frequently does not fall within this category. When purchasing CRM systems without the help of their IT colleagues, business units are more likely to experience integration, customization, support, and upgrade problems. 

Choosing and implementing a CRM is a challenging and risky procedure. Before installation, the IT department can handle data backup and migration. Teams using CRM software may also benefit from its help with support requests, technological difficulties, and other problems. There is no guarantee that after the system is implemented, users would provide accurate data for it. However, if you have clear goals for users, executives, and your IT team, you're more likely to get a great ROI.

Failures CRM

6. Ineffective Departments Collaboration

It's challenging to persuade departments to collaborate on using CRM, which is one of the main reasons why it fails. Cooperation between the marketing and sales departments is key to CRM effectiveness.

Sales and Marketing both play important roles in generating leads and converting them into paying customers, despite the fact that they may have different functions in lead generation and development.

Marketing must identify target audiences, create and use strategies to successfully reach them, qualify leads, and pass them on to sales. Sales are responsible for evaluating the leads that marketing sends their way, nurturing leads through each step of the sales process, and closing the deal once the lead converts.

A CRM system is required to support every one of these tasks. But when Sales and Marketing collaborate to create integrated lead generation and customer acquisition strategies, CRM works best.

7. Lack of CRM User Training 

Employee training might offer an answer to the question of why CRM fails and how to fix it. Users who are new to the CRM's platform or inexperienced with using its features properly won't likely benefit greatly from it.

If team members don't feel comfortable using a CRM, they are more likely to stop using it. For instance, whatever advantages a CRM tool may provide the business, the time lost when an employee takes too long to learn how to use it may exceed those benefits.

In order to prevent CRM failure caused by a lack of training, businesses should focus on CRMs that are: simple to use and training-rich. When tasks are automated, team members can use CRM fast and easily.

[Related Article: Common CRM Issues]

CRM implementation failure examples

Here are two instances of CRM implementation failures so that any company can learn why do CRM projects fail:

1. Blackberry

In the past, Blackberry was a market leader in the mobile phone industry. The company lost its reputation in a year as a result of its bad CRM implementation. Email and BlackBerry Messenger services were unavailable to users. Customers jammed social media platforms in search of interaction and solutions to their issues. The business chose Facebook, limiting its coverage, rather than using its CRM tool to send out a clear answer. Furthermore, their response took 12 hours to get through, which increased customer pressure.

This was the beginning of Blackberry's collapse, and the business eventually failed. Their CRM failure? Poor planning and scope setting. CRM gathered personal consumer information, such as phone numbers and email addresses, which was the most effective communication channel. It would have been easier for the business to keep its customers if it had provided personalized customer service.


2. General Motors Acceptance Corps Commercial Mortgage

One of the reasons why do so many CRM programs fail is because they are too focused on internal priorities rather than customers. In 1992, the Commercial Mortgage department of General Motors Acceptance Corp adopted a CRM that used automated voice response technology as the first point of contact for their customers requesting loans. Upon activation, the business learned that 99% of its loan customers were zeroing out to a customer support representative.

In addition to numerous complaints about the company, loan officers were losing clients. This accident was being used by their rivals to attract customers away. Focusing on customer priorities and recognizing that customers are not willing to spend time punching in numbers and navigating the voice-activated system could have prevented this mistake. The business might have continued using customer service agents to handle queries instead.

[Related Article:  5 Steps of Effective CRM Implementation Strategy]

7 Steps For Successful CRM Implementation

Below, we list the seven essential steps for a successful CRM implementation:

1. Pick the Right System

Implementing a CRM system basically depends on how well it suits your company's requirements. Data migration, software provider selection, the whole sales process, company strategy, and business model are all important factors in CRM success. Modern CRMs are quite customizable, mobile-ready, and initially rather inexpensive to implement. The easiest way to select the ideal solution for your unique requirements is to ask for a demo of your top five or six options. After that, you can check references and streamline your choices. It's important to understand the basic characteristics of the licenses you buy and check that installing further configurations and customizing the program is completely free.

2. Create a Plan for Your Sales and Marketing Process

If you want to successfully optimize your CRM cross-departmentally and avoid failures of CRM you should carefully plan and outline key business processes step-by-step to achieve ideal outcomes.  Before selecting a software vendor, businesses prioritize internal collaboration and define agreements and best practices. Organizing an enterprise-wide effort that includes not only the IT department but also other essential business departments, doing so will reduce risk and total project failure.


3. Ensure that You Create An End-To-End Solution

Your CRM can simply be integrated with many secondary platforms. To get the most out of their CRM system, companies today combine multiple tools including project management, co-working tools, web conferencing, and email marketing. System integration is a great way for multiple departments to get involved in the implementation and management of CRM. It's also a good way to highlight the advantages and benefits and excite employees about it.

[Related Article:  Three Types of CRM: Which is Best for Your Business?]

4. Select the Right Partners

It is crucial to have a well-defined business plan that outlines the roles of the provider and the end user. To ensure that everyone is on track, measurable goals and strategic objectives should be set up, and the sales cycle should be continuously analyzed to measure success. By handling CRM administration in this manner, the majority of CRM implementations gain advantages and reduce scope creep. Remember to take your time and present a weighted list of benefits before making your final decision because choosing the wrong software can answer the question of why CRM projects fail.

5. Get Feedback Early In The Adoption Process

One of the biggest reasons why CRM implementations fail is when users aren't actively using the solutions that meet their everyday needs. Project teams, sales teams, and marketing departments all need to actively gather feedback very early in the adoption process. This means that having a cross-functional team from the start, with a big focus on CRM objectives, is a critical aspect that could influence the success or failure of your entire project.

6. Create and Follow A Project Plan

Execution, deliverables, champions, and organized, measurable timetables are all essential components of a successful CRM implementation. At this point, project managers should be brought on board to get executive support and create a group of super users that can test out important features of your CRM. The best way to do this is with a phased strategy that provides full solutions to any potential issues that might arise. Once a project strategy with clearly defined actionable processes is in place, issues like software customization and poor data quality may be easily negated.

Failures of CRM

7. Ensure You Implement A Useful, Scalable Solution

According to CRM failure rates, the success of CRM installations is significantly influenced by cross-departmental cooperation. However, when it comes to the general administration, implementation, and scalability of any particular solution, the IT department has a strong impact. When implementing CRM, seamless data mitigation, systems integration, and training are all essential components that will help provide crucial information to sales teams at the right time. CRM systems must be supplied in a way that gives salespeople access to cutting-edge tools they don't currently have. 

In addition to access to white papers and case studies, these can take the form of tickler emails, information about online customers' viewing habits, and other techniques. Long-term success will be ensured by having a clearly deployable and scalable CRM solution, which will also allow businesses to measure the real and significant growth achieved as a direct result. Successful CRM installations rely on integrated software applications that streamline decision-making and provide better data quality. A change management program is an excellent way to bring new business software throughout the entire organization.

[Related Article:  How to Measure ROI for CRM Marketing?]

Key takeaways

CRMs are very useful pieces of software that frequently determine the success or failure of a company. When CRM solutions aren't implemented properly, there's a chance that you'll lose sight of long-term business goals and waste a lot of time, effort, and resources that could be used elsewhere. However, in this article, we discussed in detail why CRM fails and how to fix it. We hope it will help you avoid mistakes and only grows your business.

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Ivan Karp

Managing Director at SyncMatters, Europe

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